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Random Worst 'X-Files' Episodes

  • Teso Dos Bichos on Random Worst 'X-Files' Episodes

    (#1) Teso Dos Bichos

    • March 8, 1996

    Synopsis: Several individuals from an archeological team from Ecuador go missing after excavating an ancient burial site that was allegedly protected by the spirit of a jaguar. The spirit, angry at being disturbed, unleashes a wave of feral cats that wreak havoc around the nearby museum.

    Why it falls short: This episode lacks any kind of coherency. It's basically one tangent after the next, which makes it incredibly hard to build up any kind of tension or suspense. The tone is undermined even more due to a silly monster (in this case a pack of rabid cats). It could have been played for a comedy, but since everything is played straight, it just comes across as weird and disconcerting. Not surprisingly, this was one of the only episodes both the cast and crew strongly disliked. In fact, it went through so many rewrites that it's no surprise the whole thing just kind of feels pushed together haphazardly.

  • Fight Club on Random Worst 'X-Files' Episodes

    (#2) Fight Club

    • May 7, 2000

    Synopsis: Mulder and Scully track down two doppelgangers who don't actually know each other but cause everyone around them to become increasingly violent every time they come into contact. Mulder and Scully are called in to solve the mystery of the connection between the women and the violence. They eventually discover that the two women are, in fact, related.

    Why it falls short: Consistently ranked among the top 10 worst X-Files episodes of all time, the series was nearing the end of its initial run when this clunker came out, and you get the sense they were running out of ideas. The premise is silly and uninteresting for an hour-long episode. Everything just feels off from the acting to the music. The episode never takes itself seriously, which would've been fine had it not been an X-Files episode. 

  • Space on Random Worst 'X-Files' Episodes

    (#3) Space

    • November 12, 1993

    Synopsis: After a space shuttle mission becomes mysteriously sabotaged, the team's commander, Lt. Col. Marcus Aurelius Belt, starts having strange visions and flashbacks. As Mulder and Scully investigate, they realize Belt had a hand in another failed mission to Mars. As they uncover more evidence, Mulder begins to believe it was due to an alien spirit that's not inhabiting the body of an astronaut. 

    Why it falls short: The X-Files is normally great at keeping the audience guessing as to what's really going on. But in "Space," you know what's happening even before Mulder and Scully. The protagonists don't really accomplish all that much, and the use of stock footage in the episode makes it feel lazy. Overall, it's a throwaway episode that's neither original nor memorable.

  • Babylon on Random Worst 'X-Files' Episodes

    (#4) Babylon

    • February 15, 2016

    Synopsis: An art gallery showing allegedly offensive pieces is attacked, leaving the actual bomber incapacitated. Mulder uses mysticism to try to communicate with the comatose bomber to avoid a future attack while Scully seeks out answers via neuroscience. 

    Why it falls short: This episode deals with heavy subject matter that may hit too close to home for some. That's not its biggest problem, though. The main issue with this episode is the fact that it juxtaposes light and heavy subject matter with about as much tact as a blindfolded dog in a glass room. It also includes a sequence of Mulder getting high and dancing in a rodeo. The shift in tones doesn't work at all. 

  • Schizogeny on Random Worst 'X-Files' Episodes

    (#5) Schizogeny

    • January 11, 1998

    Synopsis: A maniacal therapist is implanting his patients with her own abusive memories. Meanwhile, a teenager named and patient named Bobby Rich becomes a suspect in his father's murder. However, Mulder and Scully believe a greater evil may be responsible.

    Why it falls short: "Schizogeny" had a lot of potential due to the creepy atmosphere it creates with the bloody trees. Unfortunately, the story falls a bit short; it feels like they filmed a bad spec script for the series, which really could have gone through a few more drafts. In the end, you realize the therapist has the ability to control trees, which is only slightly cool until you start to think about it a bit more.

  • First Person Shooter on Random Worst 'X-Files' Episodes

    (#6) First Person Shooter

    • February 27, 2000

    Synopsis: The Lone Gunmen bring Mulder and Scully to a video game company after learning that one of the developers was killed while playing one of the virtual reality games. While there, a new virtual-reality game is overridden by a female computer character whose power extends far beyond the virtual realm. 

    Why it falls short: A lot of computer-based TV shows and films from the '90s haven't aged well, and this particular episode really falls short. Naturally, characters use technical jargon that's truly all over the place. It takes itself seriously but comes across as goofy more than anything else. Most '90s-era depictions of virtual reality haven't aged well, but this one feels particularly dated.

  • My Struggle III on Random Worst 'X-Files' Episodes

    (#7) My Struggle III

    • January 3, 2018

    Synopsis: Scully has a vision involving her and Mulder's son. She ends up being hospitalized, and Mulder has to investigate the cause. He ends up crossing paths with Erika Price and Mr. Y, who are on a mission to colonize the universe. 

    Why it falls short: The major offense caused by this episode is how it reconnects the previous season's ending. We learn the ending of last season was just a dream, and Scully is in the hospital. Negating an entire season's worth of build-up in a second is always a cheap shot, and this episode was a huge slap in the face to fans excited for the revival but ended up just getting messed with. 

  • 3 on Random Worst 'X-Files' Episodes

    (#8) 3

    • November 4, 1994

    Synopsis: Scully is still missing, so Mulder begins an investigation into vampires in Los Angeles. Throughout his journey, he becomes involved with a female vampire who wants to escape her lifestyle. 

    Why it falls short: Scully's completely gone from this episode, which makes it suffer significantly. Additionally, it tries to go for an erotic thriller vibe and just falls short. "3" is a good example of one reason the show worked so well was due to the chemistry between Mulder and Scully. With half of that missing, the show feels, well, half empty. 

  • Chinga on Random Worst 'X-Files' Episodes

    (#9) Chinga

    • February 8, 1998

    Synopsis: Rumors of sorcery and witchcraft surround a small fishing town. A strange murder occurs at the local supermarket, and Scully ends up finding a little girl with a cursed doll that may hold vital clues into the killing. 

    Why it falls short: "Chinga" feels like it was a disjointed idea they tried to put together into a cohesive episode. Another problem is that the idea of a haunted doll was already pretty played out by the '90s. It's not scary. It's not funny. It's definitely not scary. In fact, it's not really anything. Stephen King actually co-wrote this episode (along with Chris Carter), which is surprising. Zack Handlen from The A.V. Club summed it up perfectly when we said, "[it] seems like one of those ideas that sounds really, really great until someone thinks about for more than a minute."

  • Alpha on Random Worst 'X-Files' Episodes

    (#10) Alpha

    • March 28, 1999

    Synopsis: Several killings occur in a town that are blamed on the Wanshang Dhole, an Asian dog that was thought to be extinct. Mulder and Scully team up with the sheriff, who also happens to be a canine expert and eccentric hunter. 

    Why it falls short: A big shift occurred in the show when the series moved to Los Angeles. Many of the episodes became more lighthearted, including "Alpha." The episode basically utilizes puns nonstop, and the friction caused when Karin Berquist develops a crush on Mulder is eye-rolling at best. Sure, parts of this episode were fun — scary even — but whatever interesting and macabre thematic elements that were present were instantly washed away with the ending.

  • Fearful Symmetry on Random Worst 'X-Files' Episodes

    (#11) Fearful Symmetry

    • February 24, 1995

    Synopsis: An escaped elephant is linked to the death of a construction worker. It's also wreaking havoc of various properties. However, witnesses say no animals have been seen. Mulder and Scully investigate the local zoo and find that the zoo's claim to fame is that a successful animal birth has never occurred there. 

    Why it falls short: Most fans remember this as the "invisible elephant and tiger" episode. The episode tries to make a point about animal rights, but everything else is so silly that it ends up losing its impact. The episode does earn some points for using real animals, so at least you don't have to deal with witnessing bad animal CGI from the '90s. 

  • Ghost in the Machine on Random Worst 'X-Files' Episodes

    (#12) Ghost in the Machine

    • October 29, 1993

    Synopsis: A computer develops advanced artificial intelligence. It proceeds to kill anything that endangers its own existence when it's designated too inefficient to keep controlling the machinations of an office building. 

    Why it falls short: Killer machines is well-worn territory for science-fiction. Unfortunately, this episode doesn't really do anything interesting with that concept. It recycles ideas from better sci-fi projects, most notably 2001: A Space Odyssey, and cranks out this forgettable episode from the first season. You'd think a show as original as The X-Files would be able to come up with a better theme instead of recycling the plot of The Terminator, which is why this one's so forgettable. 

  • Fire on Random Worst 'X-Files' Episodes

    (#13) Fire

    • December 17, 1993

    Synopsis: Mulder and Scully work alongside an inspector from Scotland Yard to investigate Cecil L'Ively, a man with pyrokinetic powers. Turns out, L'Ively is using those powers to stalk members of the British aristocracy, and they have to stop him before he strikes. 

    Why it falls short: If the accents in this episode had been halfway decent, it may be more fondly remembered. As it stands, it's tough to get past the accents on display. It has some moments, particularly in establishing a romantic subplot between Mulder and Scully, but the pieces just don't add up to anything substantial. 

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About This Tool

In the 10 seasons, "X-Files" led the audience to explore the dark and mysterious unknown world in the world and beyond. The FBI agent Fox Mulder has a firm belief in supernatural phenomena and unsolved mysteries, which led him to question everything. Although the main storyline of the series involves events, including the kidnapping of Sister Mudd, who is related to aliens, government conspiracies, and human trials, many cases have different horrors.

The X-Files series achieve success with attractive mystery, horror, and occasional comedy. Unfortunately, not every episode is a gem. The random tool lists 13 of the worst X-Files episodes most people think.

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